MK Dons Looking to Stop the Rot as They Visit Port Vale

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It hasn’t been the easy ride many fans would have expected for MK Dons so far on their drop down to League Two. Many had them down as title or promotion favourites but, as they prepare for a midweek clash at Port Vale, they sit in the bottom half having not won in five league games. Turning around two and half years of sub-par performances and reinstalling a winning mentality was always going to be a long, arduous job for Paul Tisdale, though, and there are signs of great improvement from his group of players.

MK Dons Aiming to Stop the Rot Against Port Vale

Two Strugglers Go Head to Head

Since an impressive 3-0 opening day win over Cambridge United, Port Vale has recorded only three wins, as well as claiming a draw against third-placed Exeter. While this doesn’t look bad at this stage of the season and is actually more wins than their opponents MK Dons, they have conceded a large portion of their goals in the second half of games, particularly late on, which is the main reason they are not higher up the league.

The exact same can be said of the Dons. Were it not for stoppage time goals against Swindon and Lincoln, as well as a late goal from Yeovil last Tuesday, MK would have an additional five points and could potentially be in the automatic promotion spots. Game management and concentration is clearly something that both of these sides struggle with, so the big question for this game is; who will break first?

Port Vale may concede a lot in the second half, but they can do it at any time, not just in the dying minutes. MK Dons, meanwhile, can play well and concentrate in these periods – it is only inside the last five or ten minutes of a game that they allow too much pressure on them and they eventually implode. This game will be about who can take the most advantage of their opponent’s weakness.

Key Men

Port Vale

After scoring his first goal for the club in the seventh minute of injury time against Exeter, Idris Kanu, who is on loan from League One side Peterborough United, could be set to start in this game as the confidence will be flowing for the 18-year-old. Having played just 19 minutes of football so far this season, he currently has the best goals-minutes ratio in the Port Vale squad.

Also important for Port Vale will be their top scorer and captain Tom Pope. Pope has four goals so far this season, as well as one assist from his 851 minutes played. Additionally, his 6’2″ frame will be a constant problem for the MK Dons defence.

MK Dons

It looked as though Chuks Aneke had no future at the club during the summer but he is now scoring like a player who is playing for his future. The forward notched his second league goal of the season last time out against Tranmere (his fourth in all competitions) and is now just one behind top-scorer Kieran Agard.

The big forward may be rested this time as there are a lot of strikers pushing for game time but expect him to make an impact whether he starts or enters as a substitute.

If Aneke does make way in the starting eleven, the void will likely be filled by Agard, who will be looking to climb higher up the scoring charts after a number of uninspiring campaigns at Stadium MK. He may have three goals to his name, but two of these have been penalties and he has also missed from the spot as well. He will be looking at this game as a chance to cement a starting place and steer clear of Aneke and Rhys Healey climbing the scoring ranks.

Prediction

This is going to be another tight game, one that is incredibly close to call. However, MK Dons have far more expectation on their shoulders this season than Port Vale do and it’s only a matter of time before their tide begins to turn.

This won’t be a walkover of any kind, but the Dons know that they need to start turning these draws into wins and there won’t be many away games this season where they will feel as though they can do that. This, though, is one of them.

Prediction: Port Vale 1-2 MK Dons

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